Thursday, May 24, 2012

Something to Please the Eye and Fuel the Imagination

Both of these motorcycles have been around for a bit.  However they are well worth drooling over because of the quality of the build and they are both just plain cool.  I’m not usually a twin fan but I do make exceptions from time to time because you know gorgeous and beautiful are not exclusive to singles.
First up is the Vincent built from spares by the hand of Mr. Jeff Decker.  There has been much said back and forth about this bike.  All I can say is that it’s perfect and it gets ridden.  And more than likely it gets ridden hard and often.  I’m not sure Mr. Decker lets much dust collect on any of his bikes. 
Go here to see more;  You do have to spend some time wandering around his pages!
Next up is the Vincent built by Ian Barry also know as Falcon Motorcycles.  As with the Vincent from the hands of Mr. Decker, Mr. Barry has also built a perfect bike.  Go here to see the pages from Falcon;  Just like the Vincent from Utah the Vincent from California has had lots said about it also.
All photos are courtesy of Mr. Decker and Mr. Barry.  However if there are objections to my non-commercial use gentlemen please let me know and I will remove the images.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back from the Shadows Again!!!

This is just a few hours from having the cast removed.  Arm is scaly like a lizard and everything.  But I have my opposable thumb and wrist back.  Yes I am a happy!  So I’m back in the garage with some exercising and a new found resolve to always trust gravity and no matter what try to fly without an airframe and engine.   

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Is not fun when it’s imposed.  Yet when you contemplate a scratch build of any kind, tow or four wheeled, it should become your friend.  And patience is all about waiting.  You wait for better weather because you’re too cheap to put a better heat source in the garage.  After all that’s money that could be better used for parts.  Yes I admit it, not the best choice really.  You wait for trades and deals to be completed.  You wait for the right part to turn up which will allow you to finish a critical assembly.  You wait to sell a part for cash for that other part.  And it all goes on and on.  But I’m willing to admit that the bit of fiberglass on my arm has really soured my outlook about patience and waiting.

Probably because normally there is always something to do while you wait.   Clean parts; find the right nuts and bolts.  Polish bits just right and think about paint color.  It is all of those things that keep your mind off waiting so you don’t have to have patience which I can’t do.  But the end is in site and it’s not a light in the tunnel.  May 23 I get to have the cast removed.

                                        Just a wonderful studio photo of a racing JAP.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Trying not to be too down about not being able to pick up tools I have been doing some information gathering.

The stash of parts I have has four magnetos in stock.  Two BTH dirt track mags, a SEM from Sweden and a PAL which I believe is ESO from Czechoslovakia.   The PAL is interesting but has been promised on a parts trade o a friend in Australia who has an early ESO that needs spark.

That leaves the BTH and the SEM mags.  The BTH as the usual unit used with the JAP engines.  And both of these come with manual spark advance.  What little I understand of the SEM is that it is used for speedway and ice racing and has a reputation for reliability and the traditional Swede quality.

The problem is I have no idea if any of these four actually spark.  Or if they do spark is it good enough to run the JAP.  So off to surf the great information sea I went.  I found little or no help on the SEM magneto.  I may have just been not digging enough or used the wrong search strings.

I did find some reasonable info for the BTH.  These guys Bright Spark Magnetos,, have an interesting web site and are trying to address some of the problems with old magnetos.  Very interesting bunch of information regarding know problems and solutions using new materials and technology.

I also found this site Racing Vincent UK,  This is a very commercial site offering restoration parts for Norton and Vincent.  But what I found interesting and maybe useful is they offer a range of bits for BTH magnetos in the catalog.  Go here for the list of BTH bits.

I haven’t made an inquiry of these guys but it does seem they may be in business and could provide those hard to get bits for a BTH refurb.  You know like the gaskets and screws and stuff along with new bearing and such.  There is a small interesting note of the parts page.  They indicate that the BTH Dirt Track mag and the TT mag were the same mag; just a different name plate.

So all in all, with some more surfing under my belt, I’m pretty much decided on using the traditional BTH mag for spark.  Now to try and determine if either one of the KD-1 mags spark and what I will need for bits to get them fit to bolt up to the JAP.

So anybody have something to trade for a SEM speedway magneto?

`                                          SEM Magneto

                                         BTH KD-1 Race Magnetos.  These two appear to be 
                                         of dfferent vintage magnetos.  Just need to wait and try
                                         a test and see if either will work.

In the meantime if anybody has better information to share or has a great easy way to test a magneto please let me know.